For decades, millions of tourists have flocked to the Hollywood Walk of Fame to snap a photo with their favorite star.
The attraction is synonymous with the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry. The more than 2,700 stars honor those in motion pictures, television, radio, recording, live theatre/performance and sports entertainment.
However, in recent years, some of the big names adorned on those terrazzo and brass stars have become embroiled in scandal, causing their stars to become defaced by vandals.
Former President Donald Trump’s star — a point of political debate since 2016 — has been spray painted, smashed by a sledgehammer and destroyed with a pickax.
Disgraced comedian Bill Cosby’s star has been hit by vandals countless times, calling out the numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against him. One vandal scrawled “serial rapist” over it in pen.
Regardless of the many times they have been vandalized, they’ll always be repaired.
“Any star which is vandalized or destroyed, no matter which honoree it belongs, to will be replaced by the Hollywood Historic Trust, a non-profit, non-partisan group,” Ana Martinez, producer for the Hollywood Walk of Fame, explained.
“When people are angry with one of our honorees, we would hope that they would project their anger in more positive ways than to vandalize a California State landmark,” Martinez said. “Our democracy is based on respect for the law. People can make a real difference by voting and not destroying public property.”
Kevin Spacey, who received his star almost 25 years ago, was recently charged in the United Kingdom with four counts of sexual assault against three men. This left some wondering if his star should remain on the famous 15-block stretch.
But when it comes to actually removing them from the sidewalk, it won’t happen. According to the Walk of Fame and Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, those stars are here to stay.
“The Hollywood Walk of Fame is a historic landmark which celebrates the professional contributions of the inductees,” Martinez explained. “The stars once installed, are considered part of the historic fabric of the Walk.”
Martinez also credited the Walk of Fame’s vetting process for this, as it is a very exclusive honor. This year alone, the organization received upwards of 200 nominations, but only 24 were chosen.
“The criteria for receiving a star consists of the following: professional achievement, longevity in the category of five years or more, contributions to the community and the guarantee that the celebrity will attend the dedication ceremony if selected,” the rules state. “Posthumous awards require a five-year waiting period.”
It costs $250 to submit an application every two years. If someone is selected, there is a $50,000 sponsorship fee. “The fee is used to pay for the creation and installation of the star, as well as maintenance of the Walk of Fame,” Martinez explained.
When it comes to who gets chosen for the prestigious honor, it’s more than one person.
The nomination must be approved by the Walk of Fame Committee. Sometimes nominations are up for several years before finally getting the honor.
After the committee has made its selections, “the Hollywood Chamber’s Board of Directors also votes to approve the star,” according to the rules. “Then for a final approval, the names are submitted to the City of Los Angeles’ Board of Public Works Department.”
Among the 24 nominations in 2022 to receive the honor are producer Greg Berlanti, actor James Hong, Judge Greg Mathis, and actress Jean Smart.
All Walk of Fame ceremonies are open to the public and free to attend.
The event is streamed exclusively on www.walkoffame.com.